Richland's fourth fire station to open in 2015

Sara Schilling, Tri-City HeraldJuly 6, 2014 

Richland's new fire station is on track to open next year.

The station will sit near the city shops on Duportail Street -- the fourth fire station in Richland and the first one built since the early 1990s.

The city is using a design-build approach, in which an architect and contractor team up to tackle the project together, instead of the design-bid-build process that's typically used for projects in the station's price range.

The price tag for design and construction is about $2.8 million, with the total cost at about $3.5 million including bond financing expenses, pre-design work and some other costs.

The city was granted approval from the state to use the design-build process as a pilot case after a change in state law, and it's proving to be efficient and cost-effective, said Joe Schiessl, parks and public facilities director

Using the approach is estimated to have driven down costs about $1 million. The city also is saving by building the fire station at the Duportail site instead of on different city-owned property nearby, where some street work would have been required.

The city council recently approved the design-build team of contractor Leone & Keeble Inc. and Architects West. Design is under way and officials expect construction to start within a few months.

The new fire station will mean quicker response times in south Richland and also lead to improvements systemwide by taking pressure off other fire stations, officials said.

"The whole system is stronger by adding this station. It adds depth to the whole system," said Fire Chief Grant Baynes.

He said firefighters are excited about the new station, but understand it's not being built for them but instead to serve the community.

Citizens are getting "a lot of value for the dollar" in the new station, he said.

"As a public servant, it feels good to be able to tell citizens, 'Thanks to the work of a lot of people, we're not just getting a station, but one that has a lot of value for the dollar,'" Baynes said.

The station will be about 13,000 square feet, with four bays, six bedrooms, three bathrooms and other features, including some space for police.

An increase in the monthly ambulance utility fee and the electric utility occupation tax will pay for the new fire station and six new firefighters.

-- Sara Schilling: 509-582-1529; sschilling@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @saraTCHerald

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